BY DOYIN OJOSIPE, Abuja
People Living with HIV/Aids have said that the vision 90:90:90 is still far from being achieved as far as their rights and that of the vulnerable population is continuously undermined by health workers and Nigerians at large.
They also expressed sadness over little or no commitment on the part of the federal government.
According to the UNAIDS, the vision 909090 target means that, “By 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status. By 2020, 90 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy. By 2020, 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.”
Speaking at a Stakeholders meeting organised by International Community of Women Living With HIV/Aids (ICWA), the National Secretary, Network of People living With HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPHWAN), Mr Abdulkadir Ibrahim, said it is not enough that Nigeria adopts the Test and Start method of treatment as stipulated by the World Health Organisation, adding that the impact is made only when the treatment commences in actual sense.
“At the moment now, we are doing test and start, if global donors are telling government that they want to prioritize on prevention, all they will be dealing with is testing, now imagine how you will be testing people, identifying the positive client while the resources to put them on treatment is not there so what is the essence; we have about 900 people on priority medication but if government is willing, we could have over 1 million people on treatment which will be a great mile stone,”he said.
Taking Taraba as a case study, Ibrahim said the scraping of the Sure-P programme, which was initiated, to cater for treatment of those affected has increased the sufferings of people with HIV/Aids in the state
Ibrahim pointed out that while donor agencies will only focus on prevention of the disease, the federal government couldn’t have funded treatment of over 3 million people with its meagre contribution of 7 per cent of the entire HIV/Aids intervention funds.
He said, “At the moment Nigerian government only contributes 7 per cent to the HIV/Aids intervention.”
The Treasurer, ICWA, Mrs Gloria Ogodo lamented continuous discrimination faced by the vulnerable population in treatment facilities.
Ogodo said while some health workers behave so judgemental towards them, some of the people with HIV/Aids and the vulnerable community are not being attended to due to their status, adding that this had led some into hiding instead of seeking medical help.
“Most times, when they discover that the patient is a lesbian or gay, they become so judgemental and deny them of treatment asking them questions, some are even labelled as possessed, even their parents lock them up, abandon them, we are saying this is not right. This category of people should be allowed to access treatment.
She however commended the federal government for the passage of the bill on the rights of PLWHA.